Revealed: Cost of feeding councillors

Scarborough Town Hall, St Thomas Street. 'A Town Team public meeting in the Royal Hotel ballroom, full to standing room only, was held about the future of the Town Hall, which Scarborough Council have proposed to sell off and move out. Picture by Andrew Higgins   121831h  02/05/12
Scarborough Town Hall, St Thomas Street. 'A Town Team public meeting in the Royal Hotel ballroom, full to standing room only, was held about the future of the Town Hall, which Scarborough Council have proposed to sell off and move out. Picture by Andrew Higgins 121831h 02/05/12

Taxpayers stumped up thousands of pounds last year to feed hungry councillors and associates at committee meetings.

Cakes, sandwiches and pork pies were among some of the goodies on the menu at Scarborough Town Hall, which are laid on prior to meetings.

And figures obtained by The Scarborough News via a Freedom of Information request reveal that, last year, the authority splashed out a mouthwatering £4,291 on food and drink at meetings.

The total outlay on council refreshments has more than halved in recent years, with the council spending £9,950 worth of public money in 2008.

The number has dropped consistently over the past few years, and since April this year, the council have spent just £679 on council refreshments.

However, with the council still needing to slash millions from their budget this year, the figures still leave a sour taste in the mouth of some.

John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Politicians have to look at these budgets as they make spending reductions.

“The amounts might seem small-fry, but after a decade of reckless spending we need a new culture where every penny of taxpayers’ money is spent as carefully and responsibly as possible.

“Besides, scrutinising every single item of spending can add to up to huge savings for taxpayers.”

However, Cllr Janet Jefferson defended the figures. She said that the last time councillors tucked into a pre-meeting “banquet” was the at the Mayor Making ceremony, adding that the council have had to “tighten their purse strings”.

Cllr Jefferson also added that, at meetings, councillors usually have to buy food and drink themselves as part of cost-cutting measures.